Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 44-1 Spring 2009

Volume 44

Volume 44, Number 1: Spring 2009

Minnesota Politics and Irish Identity: Five Sons of Erin at the State Capitol

Author: John W. Milton

The author, a former state senator, researched the five men of Irish extraction who are honored in the State Capitol. The first is “The Senator: Nicholas David Coleman (1925–1981)” a St. Paulite who served eighteen years in the legislative body and helped strengthen its role. Next was “The Populist: Ignatius Donnelly (1831–1901)” who was born in Philadelphia, settled south of St. Paul in Nininger, and was a third-party politician and writer. Next, “The Archbishop: John Ireland (1838–1918)” an immigrant from Ireland who eventually became known throughout the country. “The Governor: Andrew Ryan McGill (1840–1905)” was raised in Pennsylvania, settled in Nicollet County, and became a governor and author. The last is “The General: James J. Shields (1810–1879),” who settled in Faribault, and was a Civil War hero. The author then compares and contrasts the similarities and differences among the men and looks at the stories of their descendants.
PDF of Milton article

St. Paul Underground: 
History and Geology at Carver’s Cave

Author: Greg A. Brick
This is a survey of the history of St. Paul’s legendary Carver’s Cave from the time of its first visit by Europeans to the present day. The geologist Brick discusses the changes to this spring-cut cave over time. Using contemporary accounts by various explorers and visitors, the author focuses on the changes at the cavern. The natural sliding of rocks and dirt covered the entrance from time to time and then railroad construction dug into the front of the landmark. The article ends with Carver’s Cave in current times, when Brick did his own exploring there.
PDF of Brick article

A 4-H Trail Blazer: 
Clara Oberg and the Ramsey County 4-H 

Authors: Harlan Stoehr and Helen Hammersten
When Clara Oberg, who had lost her family farm, was hired by the 4-H in March 1928, there were only sixteen clubs in Ramsey County with around 200 members, but under her leadership, there were 1,200 young people in 4-H a decade later. By World War II, there were clubs in all twenty-eight rural school districts. The Ramsey County Agricultural Society was reorganized in 1911 to support the county extension service and to promote county fairs. It also supported 4-H programs and hired Oberg. Oberg stressed junior leadership, sports teams, and recreational activities while nurturing the organization through the lean times during the Great Depression. During the war, 4-H participants had scrap drives and supported one-hundred-eighteen acres of victory gardens. Oberg was forcibly retired in 1953 after twenty-five years of service. Subsequently the 4-H did not hire another full-time agent to oversee 4-H programs.
PDF of Stoehr & Hammerstein article